Removing that "not-so-pleasant" smell from your shoes...As if. “Not-so-pleasant” might be the understatement of all time. If your shoes have a merely not-so-pleasant smell, then this article is for you. On the other hand, if your shoes are about to be categorized as toxic waste, get ready to take copious notes. Either way, you’re in the right place.
Your feet, honey. Next question.
This is an unfortunate fact about our biology. As humans, our hands and feet are very similar. The skin on the bottom of our feet is practically identical to the skin on the palm side of our hands. We all have toe-prints that are as unique as our fingerprints. According to UC San Diego Health, the average person has approximately 125,000 sweat glands – per foot! On average, the number of sweat glands on your hands is not much lower. All this sweat promotes the growth of bacteria. So, like most of us who harbor a chemical stew on our feet, chances are your hands harbor the same bacteria et al., too. If you doubt this, try an experiment. For days on end, place your hands in a dark, warm, and moist environment like tight-fitting gloves that don’t breathe, and then exercise them vigorously. When you’re finished, take a whiff if you dare. You might want to make sure to be alone when this happens.
Let’s be clear. Not all cheese smells like stinky feet, and not all feet smell like cheese. However, many of us can attest to the peculiar pungency wafting up from our shoes. Science has finally discovered what many of us have suspected for a long time. The chemical soup that makes cheese stink is the exact same chemicals that make our shoes stink. According to Barefoot Scientist, the brevibacteria that are suspected of causing our feet to stink also give Limburger, Port Salut, and Munster cheese their distinctive smell. Methanethiol is what gives cheddar cheese all its flavor, and it’s also the same chemical produced by the bacteria found on our feet. So, what about feet that smell more like cabbage and vinegar? Well, we can thank the billions of bacteria on our feet that produce the same butyric, acetic, and propionic acids that can be found in cheese. Yum.
In the 1988 film A Fish Called Wanda, Kevin Kline plays Otto and Jamie Lee Curtis plays Wanda. At one point, Otto picks up one of Wanda’s boots and clasps it onto his face like Darth Vader’s respirator. If that’s you and everyone you know, fine. You don’t need to worry about getting rid of the smell in your shoes. If not, read on.
Every year, Odor Eaters hosts the Rotten Sneaker Contest. In 2019, 15-year-old Senneca Slocombe from Eagle River, Alaska, took the top prize. She was able to out-stink everyone else with a pair of sneakers she wore for just two years while running and playing sports. An extraordinary feat by all accounts.
According to Odor Eaters, the judging panel included Nasa “Master Sniffer” George Aldrich, Chemical Specialist for Nasa space missions, Rachel Herz, Ph.D., an expert and author on the psychology of smell, and Buck Wolf from the Huffington Post. Gas masks were not supplied.
Yes, it is possible. And there are indeed a variety of ways:
At COMUNITYmade, we use the finest, natural leather to handcraft our shoes as well as other plant based materials that don't absorb bacteria and odors. Leather naturally breathes, and this cuts down on the amount of moisture/sweat trapped in your shoes. We also used other materials that allow the inflow and outflow of air to keep your feet as comfortable as possible such as our technical knits made from RPET. Happy and dry feet don’t smell up the place or your shoes.
Buy shoes that have plenty of ventilation built in. This will reduce the amount of moisture that builds up, and it will help the shoes dry out more quickly. The better the airflow in and out of your shoes, the less likely they will smell.
Once your shoes smell fresh on the inside, you might want to learn how to clean the outside.
(Blog thumbnail credit: Freepik)
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